|Curated by Dan Handley|
W: Windows, M: Mac, L: Linux, F: Flatpak, O: Online
- Story Architect (STARC) [W, M, L, F] starc.app – For different types of writing, including screenplays. Generates cover pages and allows character, location, and world descriptions
- Scrite [W, M, L] scrite.io – Allows index cards for structure, graphs for organization, and multiple language capabilities
- Trelby [W, L] trelby.org – A trusted standard for many years.
- Storyboarder [W, M, L] wonderunit.com/storyboarder – Full featured and allows animatics.
- Producer [O] the-producer.io – NAB Product of the Year 2023. Handles pre-production and production including mood boards, shot notes, call sheets, and much more.
- OBS Studio [W, M, L, F] obsproject.org – Fairly full featured live broadcast studio software.
- Rokoko [O] rokoko.com/products/vision – Highly respected motion capture company. Single camera capture is free. Paid upgrades to dual camera capture.
- The FreeMoCap Project [W, M, L] freemocap.org – Aims to be a full featured mocap software for free. Currently in pre-alpha, but still very usable.
- Movmi [O] movmi.co – Supports scenes with multiple people.
- OpenToonz [W, M, L, F] opentoonz.github.io/e – Popular animation tool. Open source version of software used by Studio Ghibli.
- Synfig Studio [W, M, L, F] synfig.org – Vector-based animations. Can use skeleton rigs.
- Pencil2D [W, M, L, F] pencil2d.org – Handles both raster and vector animation.
- Enve [W, L, F] maurycyliebner.github.io – Handles both raster and vector animation.
- Blender [W, M, L, F] blender.org – An industry standard. Handles modeling, animation, and VFX integration.
- Unreal Engine [W, M, L] unrealengine.com/en-US – Free for filmmakers. Used by major studios for volumetric stages.
- Bforartists [W, L, F] bforartists.de – Blender, but with a simplified interface.
- UE Metahuman [W] unrealengine.com/en-US/metahuman – Photorealistic human character builder.
- MakeHuman [W, M, L] makehumancommunity.org – 3D human builder for use in 3D animation programs.
- Daz3D [W, M] daz3d.com – Highly versatile character builder.
- Goo Engine [W, M, L] github.com/dillongoostudios/goo-engine – Blender fork intended specifically for anime. Build and compile from source code.
2D Image Creation/Manipulation:
- GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) [W, M, L, F] gimp.org – Widely used Photoshop replacement.
- Inkscape [W, M, L, F] inkscape.org – Vector image editor.
- Scribus [W, M, L, F] scribus.net – Desktop publishing. Usable for custom on screen materials or promotional.
Non-Linear Editor (NLE):
- DaVinci Resolve [W, M, L] blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve – Originally for color correction and grading, now a highly powerful editor. Heavily relies on nodes.
- KDenLive [W, M, L] kdenlive.org – Powerful open source editor.
- OpenShot [W, M, L] openshot.org – Somewhat powerful, but also known for ease of use.
- Lightworks [W, M] lwks.com – A powerful industry standard. Free version output resolution up to 720p with YouTube level compression.
Visual Effects (VFX):
- DaVinci Fusion [W, M, L] blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/fusion – High end VFX. Bundled with Resolve.
- Hitfilm Express [W, M] fxhome.com – A light but still impressive free version of Hitfilm Pro.
- Natron [W, M, L, F] natrongithub.github.io – Reliable open source compositing.
- SlowMoVideo [L,F] slowmovideo.granjow.net/– Builds intermediate frames to create smooth slow motion.
- Blender [W, M, L, F] blender.org – Full VFX pipeline from CGI animation to editing to compositing.
Sound/Digital Audio Workstations (DAW):
- Audacity [W. M. L, F] audacityteam.org – General sound recording and manipulation.
- Tenacity [W, M, L, F] tenacityaudio.org/ – Fork of Audacity. Multi-track recording and editing
- Cakewalk [W] bandlab.com/products/cakewalk – A popular DAW and loop editor which has been popular for well over a decade.
- Ardour [W, M, L, F] ardour.org – Open source DAW with ability to play video for composing.
- Kontakt Player [W, M] native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/samplers/kontakt-7-player – Powerful workstation that a lot of VSTs are specifically designed to run on.
- GarageBand [M] apple.com/mac/garageband – Fairly straightforward workstation which serves most users’ needs.
- LMMS [W, M, L, F] lmms.io – Open source composer and sequencer. Can directly use files from Hydrogen (H2) drum machine program, also free (hydrogen-music.org/).